The Asian Games ended in the South Korean city of Incheon on Saturday with China just managing to pass 150 gold medals, while North Korea stole a march on both its rivals.  Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen won the men's and women's table tennis singes titles to complete the sporting contest ahead of the closing ceremony for the 9,500 athletes, featuring Korean pop band Big Bang. The presence at the ceremony of three top North Korean officials -- who agreed to resume top-level talks with the rival South -- added to the international spotlight on the event.

The table tennis golds put China on 151 for the two week contest. It was reduced by one after women's hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu failed a doping test. Hosts South Korea came second on 79 golds and Japan third on 47. While China remains Asia's sporting superpower, it has seen its dominance reduced. It won 199 gold medals at the last Games in Guangzhou in China and Incheon is the worst show of sporting power since the Games were last in South Korea in 2002.

Japan, led by the Games' star athlete Kosuke Hagino, took more men's swimming golds than China. Hagino won four alone. Gulf states, using imported runners from Africa, have eaten into China's athletics golds. The Chinese women's volleyball team lost to South Korea in the final, the first time they have not won the tournament since 1998.

The men's team lost to arch-rivals Japan and South Korea and the state Xinhua news agency said this "was mentally a heavy blow." North Korea, which nearly boycotted the Games, featured in some of the most dramatic action. Its weightlifters set five world records, its women's football team beat Japan in the football final and the men's team narrowly lost to South Korea through a goal scored 20 seconds from the end. The 150 North Korean athletes won 11 gold medals.

Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah cast aside controversies over what Muslim women should wear at the event and empty stadiums to declare the South Korean games a success. The next Asian Games will be in Jakarta in 2018 and the sheikh said the OCA would take action to avoid the transport and stadium chaos which dogged the Southeast Asian Games when it was held in the Indonesian capital in 2011.

"We will keep the culture of the zone (Southeast Asia) but not the technical standards of the zone," the Kuwaiti official said. "We will work with Indonesia, we understand the culture of Indonesia, we know the problems of Indonesia in organising things, but we will work very closely to achieve the level of the games," he added.

The sheikh stepped up calls for basketball to let women wear hijab headscarves as he backed Qatar which withdrew from the tournament because they were not allowed the headwear. "Hijab has been approved in all sports, all the FIFA, volleyball, track and field -- everywhere there is hijab, only in basketball (is it banned)," the OCA leader told his end of Games press conference. China's hammer thrower Zhang was one of six athletes to fail doping tests at the games. She was one of two gold medalists. The other was a Malaysian wushu champion, Tai Cheau Xuen.

Pakistan's athletes ended their outing in the in 17th Asian Games here on Saturday at Gyeyang Gymnasium as M Ramzan and Beenish made their exit from the karate event. Ramzan appearing in his 84-kg fight, battled hard before going down to Theerapal Kangton of Thailand in 1-8 round. Thai karatetkas demonstrated superior technique to score points. However, at times Ramzan responded and fought well before losing 10-6.

In the women's competition, Beenish outclassed Ching Cheung of Macau 9-1 in 8-1 rounds as she dominated from start to finish. Benish got three points on Yuko and two on Ippon. However, after winning her first bout 1-8 round contest, Benish lost to Yekaterina Khupovets of Krgyzstan 4-1.